Monday, July 11, 2011

Casey Anthony, A Scam, and Double Jeopardy

MSNBC reports:
If you see this on Facebook: "Breaking news — Leaked video of Casey Anthony CONFESSING to lawyer!" — don't click on it. It's fake. It isn't malware that can harm your computer, but it is annoyingware that could irritate your friends.

Of course, it's tempting to want to see it, nearly a week after Anthony was acquitted of killing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, with much of the country outraged about the verdict, and a good deal of that anger being shared on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

"With such huge media interest in the case and its outcome, scammers have leapt upon the opportunity to take advantage for their own financial ends," writes Graham Cluley, Sophos senior technology consultant on the security company's blog.

Suppose it were true and that a video showed Casey Anthony confessing. Could prosecutors do anything? Nope. The Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment forbids Florida prosecutors from retrying her for the murder. The Huffington Post comments on an urban legend about the possibility of a federal prosecution:

Anthony's acquittal has ensured that she can never again be tried for her daughter's murder because of the double jeopardy clause in the U.S. Constitution. Prosecutors are also unable to appeal her acquittal.
There has been some speculation online that she could be tried in federal court for violating the civil rights of her child, but [attorney Anne] Bremner said that is not possible.
"You can only violate someone's civil rights if you're acting on behalf of the government," Bremner explained. "The violation would have to have been committed by law enforcement, the state or some other government agency."